At the Hay Festival in Wales, Grylls explained: “Eating sweets will damage your teeth. Eat a little, that’s okay. But when you’ve eaten [them] All day long you tell yourself that you are an idiot and eat too much candy. The same applies to social media.
“So monitor it yourself. You are in power. You’re a young person – you know how to handle this stuff.”
Grylls credited his late father, Sir Michael Grylls, with raising him to face challenges head-on. Sir Michael, a Conservative MP, was a former commando officer in the Royal Marines.
“My father was a commando. He loved nature. He knew I was in trouble [at school]He knew I loved being outside, knew I loved being with him.
“We went rock climbing together – nothing crazy, maybe 50ft climbs. I go back and look at some of these places now and they’re tiny, but at the time I was like, ‘Wow, that’s packed, that’s scary.’
“My father died not long after I was allowed to climb Everest. I see much more clearly now that what he taught me went well beyond rock climbing. It was about taking hold of life and tackling things.
“I never really expressed that to my father before his death and I wish I had now just to say thank you more than anything.”
In his role as Chief Scout, Grylls seeks to instill a spirit of adventure and instill practical skills in young people. He said adults could learn a thing or two.
“I meet a lot of big, burly men who say to me, ‘I really want to learn a simple knot.’ “I feel a bit inadequate because I can’t properly attach the roof rack.”
“I think there are a lot of people who do this — simple skills like starting a fire, tying a knot or pitching a tent,” he said.
Grylls also spoke about coping with anxiety and recommended connecting with nature every day.
“Every morning I walk the dog and try to go barefoot early in the morning. Sun on my face, I can feel the dew between my toes,” he said.
Grylls’ approach to parenting made headlines in 2015 when he left the then 11-year-old Marmaduke alone on a rocky outcrop off the North Wales coast.
He had invited the local RNLI to conduct a rescue operation as part of a training exercise, but little did they know a child would be involved and criticized Grylls for putting his son at risk.
Grylls showed no remorse, saying afterwards: “If we try to take risk out of our children’s world, we’re doing them a disservice. We don’t teach them how to deal with life. All children have a right to adventure.”
The stunt was a way to teach his son “independence, initiative, self-reliance and resourcefulness: skills that will serve him well for the rest of his life.”